Thursday, March 15, 2007


I can't wait to see another movie today to get the foul taste out of my mouth left by Reign Over Me, the Mike Binder film with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. We saw the premiere last night at the Paramount. Yuck! Not only was it a terrible movie, it was misogynistic and homophobic and stupid. What an ugly, ugly film. Every frame had the writer's smudgy, hamfisted fingerprints on it.

For the first 20 minutes or so, I was right there with it. I love Don Cheadle and I've liked Adam Sandler. The photography was beautiful. A lot of it is downtown New York exteriors, and the city looked great. But once the setup was established and characters introduced, there wasn't one moment that didn't feel forced and false. And a great deal of it was completely implausible, especially Liv Tyler as the psychotherapist. And why did they make Adam Sandler up to look like Bob Dylan?

What really put me over the edge was an exchange between the two main characters. Don Cheadle is feeling dominated by his wife who is a control freak. Adam Sandler calls him a "faggot." Cheadle tells him not to use that word, that it's offensive. Sandler says something like, "To a gay guy it's offensive, but to you it's just a funny word." And they both laugh, and Sandler says faggot two or three more times. And later, the Cheadler character refers to a comic book character's costume as "faggoty." I understand that they are characters speaking lines, but they are the central sympathetic characters in the story. We're obviously meant to identify with them.

I know there are people who agree with the Sandler character's linguistic analysis. But, and this seems so obvious that I feel silly having to point it out, the word faggot is hurtful even though the person you call faggot is not homosexual. Of course it's not hurtful to that person; it's hurtful to everyone who has been made to feel less than worthy because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identification. When you call someone faggot, you're saying, "You're no better than a homosexual." How do you think that makes us feel?

I was in a bad mood the rest of the night.

J. and I were hungry after the movie, so we went to Starseeds, an open-all-night hipster greasy spoon near us. The crowd is entertaining, the staff super-cool, but the food is marginal. If you order right and get lucky, you'll get something edible and satisfying. But it's risky. We did okay -- we only had to move a couple of things that were put on the wrong plate and wait for one pancake that the cook forgot.

I forgot to shut my bedroom door while I was brushing my teeth. Suddenly I got a strong whiff of poop. I looked over my shoulder to see if there was fresh pile in the litter box, but it was clean. I knew right away what was up. J. has adopted one of our neighbors cats, Timmy, because he wasn't getting along with the other cats in their house. He was shitting in their bed, so they put him outside. This was when it got very cold in February. So J. took him in. He's a great cat, very sweet and easy-going. But the few times I've forgotten to shut my bedroom door, he's left me a present.

I was steaming mad. After I cleaned up, instead of going to bed, I sat on the porch and drank a beer. Then I read a chapter of Moby Dick before I finally went to sleep.

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